On World Heart Day, 29 September, it seems an appropriate time for us all to take stock of our health, and in particular our heart.
Atherosclerosis, which is a principle factor in the high number of deaths from smoking, and hypertension are the most common causes of cardiovascular disease (CVD) - but these are not the only ones.
A number of physiological and morphological changes related to age, immune system, sex and genetic build can also alter cardiovascular function and lead to increased risk of CVD, even in healthy asymptomatic individuals.
Lifestyle factors play an important role in preventing CVD - smoking, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyle and poor diet have been proven to increase risk. It is these modifiable behaviours that can be addressed and the earlier the better, as coronary heart disease remains the largest killer in the UK.
Check your heart health
To help understand the current health of your heart, Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Specialist Care offer a heart screening clinic that can provide a fast and reliable assessment of your cardiovascular risk including blood tests to check cholesterol, sugar levels and biomarkers of cardiovascular disease as well as simple tests including ECG, body weight and fat composition.
By the end of the assessment each individual is provided with recommendations and treatment options tailored to their risk profile and all the necessary local follow up arrangements are put in place to provide continuity of care.